India on Tuesday opposed Pakistan’s plans to hold an election in the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region stating that Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of India. Pakistan, India said, has ‘no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied it’.
India issued a statement responding to the announcement of elections ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ legislative assembly scheduled for November 15.
The external affairs ministry in a statement said, “We have seen reports regarding announcement of elections to the so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ legislative assembly to be held on November 15, 2020. The government of India has conveyed its strong protest to the government of Pakistan and reiterated that the entire union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of so-called Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947.”
“The government of India has also completely rejected the recent actions such as the so-called “Gilgit-Baltistan (Elections and Caretaker Government) Amendment Order 2020” and continued attempts by the Pakistan establishment to bring material changes in areas under its illegal and forcible occupation. Action such as these can neither hide the illegal occupation of parts of Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom to the people residing in Pakistan occupied territories for the past seven decades. These are cosmetic exercises intended to camouflage its illegal occupation. We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” it added.
The holding of an election in Gilgit-Baltistan reportedly has the backing of Pakistan’s powerful military establishment. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party is backing the move to boost its chances in the upcoming election.
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